MYTH OF KNOWLEDGE
"Myth of Knowledge"
Artist | Concept through Installation
"Myth of Knowledge" explores our relationship with the idea of knowledge. What questions arise when we challenge Eurocentric value systems as they relate to knowledge, education and information? How do we define these terms? Who and what holds knowledge? How does our perception of knowledge inform systems of power and oppression? How does the knowledge of Black, Indigenous and People of Color differ from that of Eurocolonial knowledge? How have these influenced U.S. educational institutions, curriculums, technology and research?
In this piece, I drew conceptual inspiration from the native Paiute tribe’s accounts of Coyote drawings across the northwest of Turtle Island. These ancient drawings are considered sacred and often reside in valleys, caves, or other thresholds—sometimes near water sources or important landmarks. In the book Legends of the Northern Paiute, as told by Wilson Wewa, he notes that “...one day these writings may have something to teach us; but, for now, that knowledge is asleep.”
Knowledge and information has not always been owned, gained, consumed or capitalized on. We must hold respect for the different sources of knowledge, honor those who impart it to us, listen closely for how lessons are revealed, and be patient—maybe even wait thousands of years until our descendants have the eyes and ears to understand the lessons.
In the mural, a young boy encounters a great ancestor embodied in obsidian, flora and other elements of the land. The boy crouches in respect and humility toward the matriarch, as opposed to portraying a more domineering, possessive or aggressive nature often associated with masculinity. Other symbols associated with femininity are incorporated, such as flowers, plants and warm colors, bringing a soft and calming presence to the piece. By dismantling what is commonly valued by our society in the gender of a boy or man, and instilling lessons from the matriarch, we bring into focus a new lense for recognizing knowledge—devoid of patriarchy, white supremacy and capitalism. The circuit boards represent a modern symbol of knowledge, information, and technology. They are incorporated with the matriarch and the land, re-associating Womxn of Color with nature and technology—simultaneously and inherently rejecting the duality between the two.
This piece is one of two in my Myth Series, and fits among my other work in questioning the role of colonization in our value systems, particularly as part of the US American nation state, from a lense of de-colonial thought and revolutionary matriarchy. How do we look at the fabric of our paradigm and use these lessons to become aware, shift and re-member the values of the Indigenous self and the wisdom of the old universe? Visually, the piece was inspired by obsidian fields of Warm Springs, Paiute and Wasco land (A.K.A Central Oregon), as well as the sagebrush, catmint, and other flora of the area. Included is the Baybayin (Pilipino native script) that I use throughout my work, which reads “Lilipas din ito”, translating to “This too will pass.”
Myth of Knowledge
Spray painted indoor mural
Wasco Paiute & Warm Springs Land | Central Oregon
14’ x 29’
2021| Private Commission by Tech Client
Gardner, J. (2017). Legends of the Northern Paiute: As told by Wilson Wewa. Oregon State University Press.
Books that have informed my work
-Odell, J. (2021). How to do nothing: Resisting the attention economy. Melville House.
- The Myth of Progress, Theodore L. Shay, The Indian Journal of Political Science, Vol. 18, No. 1 (JANUARY-MARCH, 1957), pp. 5, Published By: Indian Political Science Association
- RSA. (2013, April 9). On Progress - John Gray [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmRBHCclzZk
*It is important to note that other resources, oral teaching, relational and community learning and mutual knowledge sharings have informed my work and ideas.
- Marie-Terese Png, Ai ethics doctorate student, https://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/people/profiles/marie-therese-png/
- Jamie Yancovitz, Darcey de los Reyes. Survival Arts, survivalarts.org/.
- Thoreau, H. D., & Brown, B. (2020). Walden ; and On the duty of civil disobedience. Canon Press.
- Hancock, G. (2020). America before: the key to Earth's lost civilization. Coronet.
- Villariba, Marianita Girlie C. “OneonOne.” Babaylan Women as Guide to a Life of Justice and Peace, vol. No.2, 2006, pp. 55–60.
- Ho, Fred. Principles for the Revolutionary Matriarchy Society, 2012.
- Dunbar-Ortiz, Roxanne. An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States (REVISIONING HISTORY). Reprint, Beacon Press, 2015.
- Badilla family and elders. Carter family and elders.